New Jimmie Davis Bridge Replacement Could Take 5 Years to Build
In the latest installment of the "Let's Rebuild The Jimmie Davis Bridge" soap opera, we learn that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has finally awarded the contract to the James Construction Group.
To get you caught up on the previous installments of this nightmare, here are a few bullet points:
- In January 2016, after determining there were many needed repairs to the Jimmie Davis Bridge, the repair work was halted due to an abundance of nesting "barn swallows" on the bridge
- In May 2016, the DOTD cancelled the contract for the rehabilitation project because of the inability to reach and agreement with the contractor on a plan or price to address cliff swallows, a protected species of bird inhabiting the bridge
- In January 2022, a private company expressed desires and began formulating plans to construct a toll bridge in the South Bossier/Shreveport area that would cross Red River
- In March 2022, Louisiana dedicated $150 million to replace, repair or reconfigure the historic Jimmie Davis Bridge
- In August 2022, after what the DOTD called "a lack of competitive attention" for a rebuild project, the DOTD announced intentions to re-open the bidding process for a rebuild, estimating the final cost to be around $150 million and then later adjusting that cost to be around $223 million
- In February 2023, the DOTD announced that the lowest bidder for the Jimmie Davis Bridge project was the James Construction Group with a bid of almost $362 million
- Now, in April 2023, we learn that the DOTD has awarded the contract to James Construction Group
In this latest announcement from the Louisiana DOTD, we learn that James Construction Group's price bid of $361,743,367 has been accepted along with the proposed build time of 1,768 calendar days (just under five years).
The next step in the process is contract execution and the issuance of the notice to proceed.
The design-builder will construct a new four-lane bridge north of the current structure. Once complete, the Jimmie Davis Bridge will be rehabilitated into a linear park that will connect the existing bicycle and pedestrian trails across the Red River.
At that point, the repurposed bridge will be transferred to Louisiana State Parks within the Office of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. Additionally, LA 511 (Jimmie Davis Highway) will be reconstructed from the east end of the Jimmie Davis Bridge to U.S. 71 (Barksdale Boulevard) into a four-lane, median-divided highway, providing a full-access interchange between LA 511 and Arthur Ray Teague Parkway.
If we're understanding this all correctly, and our "soap opera" doesn't see any more twists to the plot, we could be crossing the new bridge some time in late 2028 or 2029.
Course, this is Louisiana and there are always twists to the plot...